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What do you think about this self-study plan?

zbrown01zbrown01 Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
Hey all. Earlier in this year I made a decision to self study both AP Physics C exams as a senior. I have 2 reasons for doing this:

1. I'm already taking AP physics 1 and 2 (they're technically 2 year long courses one period after the other but realistically it's 2 periods of physics 1 for the first semester and 2 periods of physics 2 for the second semester), but many of the colleges I want to apply to don't give credit for it. I'm also taking BC calc concurrently, so I figured with 3 APs that already cover some/most of the material that it would be doable and I sort of need/want the college credit.

2. I love physics to an insane degree (although it's not my intended major) and I want to advance the knowledge that I would get from just physics 1 and 2 by adding the more advanced calculus component.

So here's my study plan for it:

Since the physics C exams correspond to physics 1 and 2 in terms of concepts although with calculus involved, I'll be studying the physics C equivalent of the material i'm doing in class at the same time. My physics teacher gave me an AP edition textbook that covers all that with calculus based stuff and so I can study that on my own time while additionally staying for an hour after school on Thursdays with him to check up on the material. So far I've finished kinematics and forces and catching up with where I am in class (work and energy).

So my questions are:
Is self studying these exams reasonable given the circumstances? I know they're pretty difficult but I feel like I have the intelligence and the framework for it with physics 1 and 2 and BC calc.
Is my plan for self studying good enough?
Should I add more resources such as test prep books or should I be fine with a textbook?

Replies to: What do you think about this self-study plan?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 804 Member
    Self studying shows curiosity, so if you are doing it for personal development, go for it. The one caveat is that you don't let it interfere with your actual school grades.

    Can you reasonably expect any credit for it? Probably not, if you are going for a competitive college. Such colleges are looking for what you can contribute to their classes and their campus (and indeed these days, the larger community). Holing up for self study sessions is not seen as valuable as actually contributing to class discussion or doing the hands-on labs.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 11,972 Forum Champion
    Self-studying APs does not help you with admissions. They don't look at your AP test scores for admissions...seniors who take APs don't get the scores back until after they are admitted.

    So if you do it, you would be doing it for College credit. See if your colleges of choice would give you credit and if that credit would be useful. Also think about how well you would do in the next in the sequence of physics at college only based on AP physics.

    Also realize that doing well in your HS courses is vastly more important than self studying...also would you have time to do ECs if you are self studying?

    Ask yourself why you are doing this:

    1) Love to learn - great! Take the classes not self-study
    2) Want college credit? Fine...but make sure it is not at the expense of your regular HS courses or ECs
    3) AP Scholars award with distinction....this is cool and all...but is not useful for college admissions
    4) College Admissions...doesn't help. Many people take AP tests senior year after they are already admitted. Colleges don't generally take AP scores into account. They take your GPA/SAT into account and the courses you take in HS.
    5) Get ahead in Physics? It may not be as beneficial to try to get ahead and take a sophomore level physics class as a freshman having had no college physics.
  • zbrown01zbrown01 Registered User Posts: 62 Junior Member
    @bopper Unfortunately my school doesn't have physics C so I couldn't take the class as much as I would've liked to. I should have time for it; my ECs aren't especially demanding. I am aware that it doesn't help for admissions or anything, I just want credit and expansion of my physics knowledge.
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